By Assan Bah
The Committee of the Management Development Institute (MDI) transformation agenda on Wednesday presented its report to the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology (MOHERST) earlier this year initiated a transformative agenda to transform the Management Development Institute (MDI) to the status of a state-of-the-art Civil Service College.
This accordingly, led to the establishment of a Transformation Committee comprising relevant stakeholders from government, academia, civil service agencies, industry, and civil society to guide and oversee the transformation process. This transformation according to the Ministry aimed to enhance the professionalism, capacity, and efficiency of the civil service in The Gambia by providing high-quality, degree-level education and training programs for civil servants and other public sector professionals. Transforming MDI into a civil service institute is what the country has always yearned for.
Mr Sulayman Samba, a retired Civil Servant and Chairperson of the Transformation Committee said the committee has engaged in a series of interactive discussions in search of consensus on the substances of the report.
He said: “The report has been tested for relevance by the more senior member of the committee, the most expressed development expert in the committee, and in an editing perspective. The committee has adequately responded to the terms of reference provided.”
He said the committee has ensured that the transformation report has aligned the transformation of MDI to the policy hierarchy of the Gambia government, which he said is the relevant aspect namely the pillars in the national development programme particularly pillar two on governance, pillar four on equitable and relevant access to education.
“We have also consulted and dealt with the 2016 to 2030 policies, we have also dealt with the civil service programme. This was all geared towards the creation of a result-oriented public service and ensuring that there is equitable relevant access to quality education,” the retired civil servant said and further indicated that MDI has a role to play and the committee has recommended for a revised vision and mission statement within the context of its strategic plans which solutions will be found in terms of strategies that will address its strengths and weaknesses.
“The international civil service degree granting universities that we reviewed include those from; India, Mauritius, Ghana Nigeria, and Senegal. Therefore, I must say that we have very instructive best practices that we have observed that could either be replicated or adopted in the transformation process of MDI,” he said.
He further said that they were able to identify four models that will come back to the government’s policy directions and believes that if it is well-resourced and manned, it should be in a position to alleviate all the obstacles that the civil service faces.
“We hoped that if that is done the desired transformative agenda of MDI to support the pillars of the national development programme, your policies and the civil service program will be a reality,” he said. He expressed gratitude to the Ministry and government for the trust it bestowed on the committee as he commended his team for their commitment and dedication.
In his keynote address, Professor Pierre Gomez, the Higher Education Minister said the transformation agenda represents the government’s commitment to enhance the capacity and excellence of the civil service in the Gambia, as he said the transformation is not just about institutional change, “it is about equipping our civil servants with the knowledge, skills, and values they need to drive our nation forward”. “We believed a stronger, more empowered civil service would be the cornerstone of our socio-economic growth and development. Any nation’s progress lies in the strengths and efficiency of its civil service,” Minister Gomez added.
He said they would take the report to cabinet as soon as possible as he said they trust in what the committee submitted to them, commending the committee for their dedication and commitment to preparing the report.